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Murder Made to Order
by Lena Gregory
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to move from cold, urban New York to small town Florida complete with snakes, alligators, and monkeys, try reading Murder Made to Order. In this cozy mystery, Gia’s diner, the All-Day Breakfast Café, is in danger of being shut down because of zoning regulations. When Gia finds the town council’s president dead, things get complicated.
Not even sure she wants to live in Florida, Gia finds herself in the middle of a forest fire, a tornado, and a murder investigation. On the plus side, however, are her supportive friend of ten years Savannah, her potential boyfriend Hunt, and a lot of encouraging townsfolk.
Author Lena Gregory draws the reader into Murder Made to Order with a good background, interesting characters, and surprising complications. Along the way you learn a lot of interesting things about life near the Ocala National Forest.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #2 in the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery Series, but works as a standalone.
Publication: June 19, 2018 — Kensington Press (Lyrical Underground)
Gia stood in the middle of the living room and stared out the window. Rain pounded against the house. Lightning flashed, bolt after bolt, illuminating the yard. Mesmerizing. The tall, thin palm tree outside her front window bent in half.
“Twenty-one years old, barely old enough to drink, and he struts in like he owns the place. Drunk as a skunk and dumber than a bag of rocks, carryin’ on about how his daddy was going to own the place.”
Gia watched them walk away, realizing nothing united a community the way tragedy did. It seemed the need to help others brought out the best in people.
When the Grits Hit the Fan
by Maddie Day
There is a little initial background, setting the scene for small town Indiana with a country store/café, Pans ‘N Pancakes, that appeals to both tourists and locals. We meet many of the characters as described through the eyes of owner Robbie Jordan. Only a few chapters into When the Grits Hit the Fan, a crime is discovered. The storyline moves along well, as any good cozy mystery should, until about one-third of the way into the book. Then, hold on to your hat! The plot becomes twisted and tangled, the tension increases exponentially, and you won’t want to put this book down.
If you are a “foodie,” you will enjoy the culinary descriptions, but they at no time overpower the mystery. Recipes are a bonus at the end of the book, including one shared by Georgeanne Ross, the Original Grit Girl, whose ground corn products are highly sought out by chefs and restauranteurs across the country.
Interesting characters and setting, suspense, a little romance, food, and Indiana dialogue combine into a cozy mystery you won’t want to miss!
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: This is the third book in the Country Store Mystery Series, but it worked well for me as a standalone. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Biscuits and Slashed Browns, but I was unable to locate the anticipated publication date.
Publication: March 28, 2017–Kensington Books
A lot of people my age mostly read on their tablets, but I liked the heft of a real book in my hands, another way I was an anachronism in my generation. The smell of the paper, the crack of the binding, even the cover art–all of it appealed to me.
As usually happened, the repetitive motion of physical work, whether removing rubble or preparing biscuit dough, freed up my mind to work through problems.
My California upbringing had not included the simple mesmerizing joy of watching white stuff fall from the sky. Whether a steady straight-down storm like this one or a howling blizzard, I never tired of gazing at it. And I’d seen all forms in my four years in Indiana. I put on the outside lights so the flakes glistened in the illumination like fairies dancing. A gust of wind made them twirl and swirl before returning to their steady descent.